List of approved digital credit providers in Kenya

List of approved digital credit providers in Kenya

Starting (January 31st, 2023) loan apps operating on the Google Play platform targeting users of Android devices, have to contend with some new requirements. These are measures put in place by Google to make sure that they are dealing with legal entities in Kenya that have the capacity to handle the necessary data involved, properly.

On top of that, last year, the Central Bank of Kenya required all unregulated digital credit providers in the country to register with it by mid-September.

Subsequently, the Central Bank of Kenya went ahead and made public a list of the digital credit providers whose applications it approved, a paltry 10 of the 288 applications received.

An updated to its directory of digital credit providers, many of whom operate via the infamous loan apps as well as short codes (USSD), shows steady growth since then to more than double. As of today, January 30th, 2023, these are the approved digital credit providers in Kenya:

List of approved digital credit providers in Kenya


Notable inclusions in the list above include M-Kopa, which offers various loans including the (in)famous Kshs 60 per day smartphone. There is also Tala and Jumo Kenya. The latter is the company that former IT, Youth and Innovation Cabinet Secretary Joe Mucheru has joined as the president.

It is worth noting that Branch, a popular digital credit provider, is missing from this list because it transitioned to a bank and banks are already regulated by the Central Bank of Kenya.

Without the approval of the Central Bank of Kenya and listing on its directory, a digital credit provider cannot be approved by Google to have their app listed on the Play Store.

The regulations in force help to deal with issues that had arisen from the usage of digital loan products including the invasion of privacy where apps would raid borrower’s contact lists, upload them to their servers and use them to coerce them and their contacts to pay back the loans in the event of non-performance of the said loans. The other issue was predatory lending practices that have seen Kenyans suffer from very high interest loans that they have become enslaved to.

 THE CENTRAL BANK OF KENYA (DIGITAL CREDIT PROVIDERS) REGULATIONS 2022


 

1. BACKGROUND

On 18th March 2022, the Central Bank of Kenya vide Legal Notice No. 46 operationalized the Central Bank of Kenya (Digital Credit Providers) Regulations, 2022 [hereafter “the Regulations”]. This was done in fulfillment of the Central Bank’s mandate over Digital Credit Providers [hereafter “DCP”] as granted by the Central Bank of Kenya (Amendment) Act, 2021.  

 

2. PURPOSE

The Regulations came into force at a time that the public had raised serious concerns about the fast-growing digital lending industry operating through apps installed on mobile phones and computers. The Regulations provide for the licensing, operations, and compliance requirements of Digital Credit Providers in Kenya. Having such Regulations offers a sense of security and protection to the target clientele of the DCPs.

 

The Regulations only apply to entities carrying out digital lending services through digital channels such as computers, mobile phones, the internet and apps. It is important to note that the Regulations do not apply to deposit-taking institutions such as Saccos, Banks and Microfinance Institutions.

 

3. OVERVIEW

In accordance with the Regulations, Digital Credit Providers are required to obtain a license from the Central Bank of Kenya before offering digital credit services. In situations where, the DCP had already begun operations prior to the operationalization of these Regulations, they are required to apply for a license from the CBK within a period of 6 months from the date the Regulations were published. It is noteworthy that the license issued by the CBK is renewable on annual basis by the 31st day of December. The current annual fee is capped at Kenya Shillings Twenty Thousand (KES. 20,000).

 

As the regulator of the DCPs, the CBK has the power to revoke or suspend a license based on the following reasons:

 

  • Where the DCP violates the licensing conditions.
  • Where the DCP fails to renew the license.
  • Where the DCP gives false information when applying for the license.
  • Where the DCP violates anti-money laundering laws.
  • Where the DCP ceases to carry out the business of a Digital Credit Provider.

 

The Regulations also seek to protect consumers from harassment by prohibiting DCPs from aengaging in uncouth conduct such as use of violence or threats or profane language, making unsolicited and unauthorized phone calls or sending messages to a customer’s contacts, employing unconscionable debt collection tactics or act in any manner whose outcome is to abuse, oppress or harass the customer during debt collection.

 

The onus has now been placed on DCPs to carry out due diligence on a customer’s ability to repay the credit facility before advancing the same to the customer. Further to that, the DCPs have the responsibility of putting in place a complaints redress mechanism for customers. The same should be brought to the attention of the customers.

 

DCPs are also required to use systems that are reliable and secure in the sense that they guarantee the safety, confidentiality, and integrity of customers’ information.

 

4. LICENSED DIGITAL CREDIT PROVIDERS  

On 31st January 2023, the CBK did a press release and confirmed that it had only approved ten Digital Credit Providers out of the 288 applications it had received since March 2022. Some of the licensed Digital Credit Providers include but are not limited to:

 

  • Zanifu Limited
  • Umoja Fanisi Limited
  • Tenakata Enterprises Limited
  • Sokohela Limited
  • Sevi Innovation Limited
  • Rewot Ciro Limited
  • Ngao Credit Limited
  • Natal Tech Company Limited
  • MyWagePay Limited
  • MyCredit Limited
  • Mwanzo Credit Limited
  • M-Kopa Loan Kenya Limited
  • MFS Technologies Limited
  • Letshego Kenya Limited
  • Jumo Kenya Limited
  • Inventure Mobile Limited (Tala)
  • Kweli Smart Solutions Limited
  • Jijenge Credit Limited
  • Giando Africa Limited (Flash Credit Africa)
  • Getcash Capital Limited
  • Ceres Tech Limited 

This number is bound to increase gradually since other Digital Credit Providers are at different stages in the license application process.

 

5. CONCLUSION

By putting in place the Regulations, the CBK has given DCPs the responsibility of establishing internal policies and procedures that will complement the Regulations and foster a healthy business environment in the industry. These policies include but are not limited to Code of Ethics, Consumer Redress Mechanisms, Data Protection Mechanisms and Anti Money Laundering Policies.


Add a Comment *

Name

Email *

Post a Comment

Post a Comment

Previous Post Next Post